Seek Help for Life-Changing Charges
If you or a loved one has recently been accused of lewd or lascivious acts or lewd or lascivious battery, do not wait to seek legal guidance. Lewd or lascivious behavior is considered a major sex crime in the state of Florida, and will be prosecuted as such. There is a probability that state prosecutors may press the maximum amount of charges against an individual accused of lewd or lascivious acts.
These charges can cause irreparable harm to your life, impacting your family, career, and personal endeavors indefinitely. If you are facing criminal charges for lewd or lascivious acts in Palm Beach or Broward County, seek legal assistance immediately. At Weinstein Legal, our defense attorney for lewd or lascivious battery, Matt Shafran, has an established track record of protecting our clients from baseless accusations.
After spending several years as a prosecutor in the state of Florida, Mr. Shafran is well-versed in the common tactics, types of evidence, and the best methods of defense for such severe charges. Do not face these life-changing charges alone. If you have been accused of partaking in lewd and lascivious acts in Florida, learn how the legal assistance of defense attorney Matt Shafran can help.
Definition of Lascivious Acts in Florida
In the state of Florida, lascivious behavior is defined as any kind of sexual act performed in public or in the presence of a minor less than 16 years of age. The words themselves, “lewd and lascivious,” are synonymous and both refer to the sensual, lustful, wicked, or crude intentions of the individual doing the act. Under Florida law, a lewd or lascivious act can be physical, verbal, and psychological.
Due to the somewhat broad definition of a lewd or lascivious act, a charge of the same name can cover a broad spectrum of crimes, including:
- Indecent exposure
- Public masturbation
- Touching of genitals
- Touching of breasts or buttocks
- Soliciting a minor to touch genitals
- Rubbing of genitals through clothing
- Soliciting a minor to touch breasts or buttocks
- Performing a sexual act in front of a minor
Lewd and lascivious acts are covered in great detail under Chapter 800 of the Florida Statutes. Within the legislature, exposure of sexual organs — such as the penis, vagina, or anus — in front of individuals younger than 16 as well as in the presence of an employee are both described as vulgar acts punishable under Florida law.
Florida Statute Section 800.04: Lewd or Lascivious Battery
Chapter 800.04 of the Florida Statutes also defines lewd or lascivious battery, which is even more severe than lewd or lascivious acts. In the state of Florida, lewd or lascivious battery is more commonly referred to as statutory rape. It’s a charge most commonly placed against adults who have actively partaken in sexual activities with a minor less than 16 years of age, including penetration.
An individual can be charged with lewd or lascivious battery for one of two reasons:
- They have engaged in sexual activities with an individual between the ages of 12 and 16 years old, or
- They have encouraged, forced, or enticed an individual less than 16 years of age to engage in any type of sexual activity, including prostitution, sexual bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse.
Difference Between Lewd or Lascivious Battery and Sexual Battery
The definition of lewd or lascivious battery significantly differs from the sexual battery definition in Florida. The primary difference between the two sex crimes charges is that lewd or lascivious battery only applies to victims between the ages of 12 and 16, whereas sexual battery is applicable to victims of all ages.
The second difference between the two is that sexual battery involves forceful sexual acts with victims, whereas lewd or lascivious battery involves a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 who had given consent. However, because a 12 to 16-year-old is not old enough to make legally recognized decisions in the state of Florida, this consent is not considered lawful in court.
Penalties for Lascivious Acts in the State of Florida
While a lewd or lascivious act charge could disrupt your lifestyle, a conviction could permanently change your entire life. If you or a loved one have been accused of a lewd or lascivious act, it’s imperative you reach out to a criminal defense attorney near me, like Matt Shafran of Weinstein Legal. Together, we can break down the potential penalties for lascivious acts in the state of Florida.
Penalties for Adults Above the Age of 18
Like most offenses in the state of Florida, a lewd and lascivious conviction will have more severe penalties for adults aged 18 years or older than it will for minors under the age of 18. Under Florida law, lewd or lascivious acts by a person age 18 or older are considered a second-degree felony. A felony is the most serious type of crime in the state of Florida.
Possible penalties for an adult convicted of lewd or lascivious acts include:
- Maximum 15 years in prison
- 15 years of sex offender probation
- Maximum $10,000 fine
Similarly, an adult convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct will be declared a sexual offender and must be placed on the Florida Sexual Offender/Predator Registry for the remainder of their life. If the individual were to leave the state of Florida, they must register as a sexual offender in any of the other 49 states they decide to live in indefinitely.
At minimum, a judge is required to sentence an individual convicted of lewd or lascivious acts to 30 months in prison followed by at least two years of sex offender probation. This minimum sentence is only possible without a previous criminal record. An individual convicted of lewd or lascivious acts is also ineligible for gain time, meaning they must serve the entirety of their prison sentence.
Penalties for Minors Under the Age of 18
Though the penalties for a lewd and lascivious charge are still serious for a minor under the age of 18, they are slightly less severe. Where lewd or lascivious acts by an adult are considered a second-degree felony, this charge is a third-degree felony for a minor. This difference in charge relates to slightly lesser penalties.
Possible penalties for a minor convicted of lewd or lascivious acts include:
- Maximum 5 years in prison
- 5 years of sex offender probation
- Maximum $5,000 fine
A minor who commits a sex crime will be considered a juvenile sex offender. However, an individual under the age of 18 will only need to register with the Florida Sexual Offender/Predator Registry if they were convicted as an adult rather than a minor. Similarly, if the individual was of close age to the victim and the sexual activity was consensual, the offense may not require registration.
At minimum, a minor with no previous criminal record may be sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by at least two years of sex offender probation.
Defenses to Lewd and Lascivious Conduct in Florida
A reputable criminal defense attorney like Matt Shafran is well-versed in common tactics and types of evidence that prosecutors may attempt to use in court to prove a lewd and lascivious charge. Fortunately, he is also incredibly knowledgeable in the best methods of defense for such life-changing charges.
In the state of Florida, possible defense to lewd and lascivious charges include:
- Lack of Lewd Intent: There were no sensual, lustful, wicked, or crude intentions of the individual partaking in the act.
- False Allegations: There was a motive for the accuser to make a false claim against the individual, such as jealousy, mental illness, or manipulation of children by a distressed or angry parent.
Prohibited Defenses in the State of Florida
Lewd or lascivious acts as well as lewd or lascivious battery are considered strict liability crimes in the state of Florida. This means that the individual accused of the crime is liable for it, regardless of his or her mental state at the time. Therefore, arguments such as ignorance of the minor’s age or consent from the minor are both prohibited in Florida courts.
Lewd or Lascivious Acts Attorney in South Florida
A lewd or lascivious accusation is not only extremely stressful but is also incredibly detrimental to your well-being and livelihood in the state of Florida. Sex crime accusations are not handled lightly by Florida law enforcement, and the repercussions of just one accusation can permanently turn your life upside-down. The repercussion of one conviction can land you on the sex offender registry for life.
It is imperative you contact a lewd or lascivious act attorney in South Florida to help manage the details of your case. At Weinstein Legal, our trusted team of attorneys will work around the clock to prove your innocence and protect your reputation. Our phones are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — and we will not rest until we build the best possible case on your behalf.
Areas in Florida We Represent
If you have been accused of a sexual crime in South Florida, the attorneys at Weinstein Legal are here to help. Our leading defense attorney, Matt Shafran, spent several years as a Florida prosecutor, learning the in’s and out’s of common tactics used against those accused of sexual crimes. Today, he fights against those same tactics to prove clients’ innocence in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Orange County Florida including the following areas:
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Coral Springs
- Delray Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Lake Worth
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- West Palm Beach
Hire a Sex Crime Attorney to Represent You in Palm Beach & Broward County
If you are facing lewd or lascivious charges in South Florida, do not speak to prosecutors or investigators without a defense attorney present. If anyone does attempt to question you, you have the right to refuse to talk with them until your attorney is present. This applies from the moment you are arrested throughout the entire legal process — and the attorneys at Weinstein Legal will be with you every step of the way.
Contact Weinstein Legal at 888-626-1108 or contact us for a free case evaluation with an experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney. We serve all of South Florida, with Law Offices in Broward and Palm Beach County, and are ready to help argue your case today.